CID launches search for Kapila and wife-Airbus deal
Posted on February 3rd, 2020

Courtesy The Island

February 3, 2020, 10:25 pm

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The CID, yesterday evening, launched a search for former SriLankan CEO Kapila Chandrasena and his wife, Priyanka Niyomali Wijenayake, over a questionable aircraft deal. A senior CID officer said an arrest warrant had been obtained and a special team deployed to look for the suspects.

Attorney General, Dappula de Livera, yesterday, directed the CID to obtain an arrest warrant and take Chandrasena and his wife into custody, on charges of money laundering, etc.

After perusing a report, submitted by the CID, the AG directed the Director of the CID to obtain an arrest warrant and take Chandrasena and his wife into custody on charges of money laundering in the SriLankan Airlines – Airbus deal, the AG’s coordinating officer Nishara Jayaratne said.

In his letter to the CID Director, the AG states that a reasonable suspicion has arisen that there is sufficient evidence to name Kapila Chandrasena and his wife as suspects for the charge of money laundering.

The AG has also instructed the CID Director to submit the investigative material and documents to the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption with a report on necessary action to be taken as there is sufficient evidence to prove that Chandrasena committed offences under the Bribery Act.

A corrupt deal involving aircraft manufacturer Airbus and Sri Lanka was exposed last week.

Airbus reached a record 3.6 Billion Euro settlement with the US, the UK and French authorities following a four-year investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption.

A statement of facts issued, on Jan 31, as part of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement reached between Airbus and the prosecuting authorities, indicates that Airbus had agreed to pay out a sum of 16.84 Million US dollars to a company registered in Brunei under the wife of an executive at SriLankan Airlines. Furthermore, the statement says that Airbus had paid out a sum of 2 million US dollars of the agreed amount to the company.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered a probe into accusations of bribery by European planemaker Airbus to pave the way for the sale of aircraft to state-run carrier SriLankan Airlines, after the firm agreed to a settlement with regulators.

Sri Lanka was among the countries whose officials figured in a USD 4-billion settlement Airbus agreed with European and US regulators, as having been accused of getting bribes to clinch sales of its aircraft.

“Sri Lanka will conduct a comprehensive investigation into reports of allegations over financial irregularities”, the office of President Rajapaksa said in a statement, on Sunday.

In a separate statement, SriLankan Airlines said its chairman and board had directed the management to cooperate fully with any government agency regarding any investigation or prosecution.

The board has also told the management to “preserve and study all available internal documentation with a view to take all possible corrective future action,” it said in the statement.

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